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What Can I Do to Make Sure My Car’s Tires Are Safe?

Dan Brian   |  November 18, 2016   |  

Upside-down car - Riddle & BrantleyWRAL-TV reported recently about a deadly two-vehicle accident that happened on I-40 in Johnston County. The incident happened near Exit 321 and involved the tire on one of the vehicles in the crash losing tire tread. Per the WRAL-TV report, a 21-year-old man was driving his car west on I-40 when the right tire on his car lost tread, which led to him losing control of the vehicle. Once he lost control of his car, it reportedly overturned multiple times, which resulted in the vehicle crossing the median into the opposite lane.

When the vehicle crossed over into the eastbound lane, it collided with another vehicle. The driver of the vehicle that lost control died in the wreck. The driver of the other vehicle survived the crash, but suffered serious injuries as a result. His injuries are reportedly non-life-threatening. There were four other people in his car as well. All of them were taken to the hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Tips for Making Sure Your Car’s Tires Are Safe

AAA has several tips for ensuring your vehicle’s tires are safe to drive on, including:

  • Problems to look for during a visual inspection of your tires
    • Over inflation
    • Under inflation
    • Wear on the tread on the side of the tire
    • Uneven tread wear
    • A portion of the tread or sidewall that is raised
  • Problems to watch for while driving
    • Vehicle pulling to one side
    • A thumping noise
    • A vibration
  • How to inspect the tread
    • The tread should be checked monthly.
    • Using a tread depth gauge, which is available at most auto parts retailers, is the most accurate way to check tire tread depth.
    • You can also use a quarter or penny to check tread depth.
    • If you use a quarter, insert it into the tread with the top of Washington’s head facing down. If the top of Washington’s head is visible, your tread is worn below 4/32” and it’s time to get new tires.
    • For the penny test, insert it into the tread with the top of Lincoln’s head facing down. If the area above the top of Lincoln’s head is visible, your tread is worn below 2/32”. That’s below the legal minimum for tread depth, which means your tires need to be replaced immediately.

How often do you check your vehicle’s tires? Let us know in the comments section below or on our firm’s Facebook or Twitter pages.